Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6, HCSB
I’m a sucker for movies. I remember watching “As Good as it Gets” with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. At one point in the movie, Hunt’s character (Carol) is at a restaurant with Nicholson (Melvin, who has OCD to the max). Not having a filter between his brain and mouth, Melvin has completely enraged Carol. She demands a compliment from him, and he tells her he has a good one. However, he drones on about his medicine. “I hate pills, very dangerous thing, pills. I’m using the word ‘hate’ here, about pills. Hate. My compliment is, that night when you came over and told me that you would never…all right, well, you were there, you know what you said. Well, my compliment to you is, the next morning, I started taking the pills.” Of course, this makes no sense to Carol, who replied, “I don’t quite get how that’s a compliment for me.” Melvin explained, “You make me want to be a better man.”
I have tucked that line away to use someday: You make me want to be a better man. This is obviously scripted, but the idea of one person doing whatever it takes because they love a person is amazing. That being said, as Christians we are not to do anything that God has commanded us not to do for the sake of any person or people. “We must obey God rather than men,” (Acts 5:29, HCSB). So in the case of spouses, if they were to want your to commit adultery, watch pornography with them, invite another person into the bedroom, etc., you must flat-out reject that.
But let’s get back to the text, because the text is not about husbands and wives, but about Christ and the believer: the true husband and the true bride (Ephesians 5:32). Our love for Jesus, our devotion to him brings about a hunger and a thirst for change. Remember the first two beatitudes (here and here), we acknowledge we are poor in spirit (spiritually bankrupt) and we mourn (have sorrow and repent) over our sins. If our natural inclinations are to do that which is selfish or sinful then our natural inclinations are to not seek after the right things: righteousness (i.e. holiness). When we are believers, the Spirit of holiness indwells us and brings a new desire and longing that combats the old. The question is: will we listen to Him or will we quench/grieve Him?
Doing the right and holy thing is not easy. It takes a driven person to deny himself or herself. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God,” (12:1-2, HCSB). Paul called on us to sacrifice ourselves to the task of being holy. To sacrifice means by its very definition to lose something valuable, which is a difficult for most people. To be holy means to be separated and pure from what the norm is. This only happens by renewing the mind. As long as we think like the world we will live like the rest of society. If we want to do the will of God, then we must think differently and must be about the task of doing so. Only then can we discern what is the good (versus evil), pleasing (versus displeasing), and perfect (versus sinful and imperfect) will of God.
When we are believers, the Spirit of holiness indwells us and brings a new desire and longing that combats the old. The question is: will we listen to Him or will we quench/grieve Him?
People say that they want to know God’s will, but rarely do they take on the task of seeking it out. People say they want to be holy, but they aren’t willing to sacrifice to make that happen. Jesus made a promise: “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed.” If you’ve ever been hungry–really hungry, not bored hungry–then you know that your one mission in life is to find food. If you have just run a 10K and bypassed the cup tables and forgot to take your little bottle of water on your hip, when you get back you’re looking for a cooler filled with water. While not in the right way, Esau upon returning from his hunting expedition was famished. He willingly sold his birthright for a pot of stew. That’s hunger!
When we are that hungry and that thirsty for righteousness (purity) then we will be happy. Why? Because we will be filled. Our desire will be granted us. Remember this is a sacrifice. It will not always be fun. It at times can be tedious. If we are hungry for steak and potatoes we do not eat the food raw. If you’re like me, you have to thaw the steak, then season it, then sear it, then cook it slowly. You have to peel the potatoes, season them, boil them, strain them, butter them, and mash them. Though you’re hungry, you must go through the task of preparing the food. Only children can sit down and eat what has been prepared for them. Adults must make the preparation.
If we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, then we must make the preparations: study of God’s Word, prayer, fasting, spiritual counsel,worship, finding ways to practice and serve in righteousness, and so forth. The preparations will bring a feast along with it.
Do you see how hungering and thirsting after righteousness will greatly improve the marriage? Surely God desires your marriage to be good. He desires your marriage to be holy. If this is also your desire and you are willing to sacrifice to ensure that you are growing to be righteous in your acts (becoming outwardly what the Spirit is making you inwardly), then the marriage cannot help but be improved. Peter wrote: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives,” (1 Peter 3:1-2, HCSB). That same thing could be said vice versa. Husbands be pure and reverent toward your wives that they will see righteousness being lived out and be won over.
Only children can sit down and eat what has been prepared for them. Adults must make the preparation.
Obviously, Jesus was not speaking about marriage, but about a person’s whole life. But marriage is a major part of that life and one ought to think deeply about applying such a beatitude to their marriage.